Snowstorm keeps area schools closed



March 22, 2010 - 12:00 AM

Strong wind complicated a storm that produced six to eight inches of snow throughout Allen County Saturday. Classes in all area schools were canceled today because of difficulties anticipated on rural bus routes.
“Interesting, is all I can say,” about the weekend snow, said Bill King, director of Public Works for Allen County.
County roads were hardest hit by the snowfall that occurred on the official first day of spring. Drifts of four to five feet were common throughout the county and trying to plow them open on Saturday was an exercise in futility, King said.
“We’d open up a road and a few minutes later it would be drifted shut again,” to the point that crews finally put off most work until Sunday, he said. “I had 14 crews out yesterday. All of the primary roads (hard-surfaced) are open and in good shape today and most of the rock roads are passable,” in that there is one driving lane with some snow still on the roadbed.
The wet, heavy snow made it difficult to move and drifting snow, with winds gusting to 30 and 40 miles an hour, was a mild surprise, King said.
Motorists venturing onto county roads often encountered snow too deep to negotiate, and required help to extract vehicles. Same occurred with county crews.
“I had both 80,000-pound loaders stuck, one for four hours that finally needed a wrecker to get it out,” King said.
Warmer temperatures forecast in the mid-50s today and nearly 70 Tuesday will make short work of most of the snow. That will add to woes on the county’s 1,000-mile road network generated by nasty winter weather. Prolonged wet weather and cold temperatures have left rock roads mushy and work to improve them had just started.
“We’ll have to start over now,” King said, noting that melting snow again would soak deep into the roads.
While drifting made travel in the countryside next to impossible over the weekend, Iola’s streets were plowed clear Saturday. Sunday afternoon’s above-freezing temperatures and some afternoon sunshine left many completely free of snow and dry this morning.

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